Monday, November 16, 2015
by Meredith Cole
This is a hard question for me. I'd love to know how many great writers think. But many of the greats (Hemingway, Faulkner, and Chandler come to mind...) had a reputation for hard drinking and hard living. Many battled with depression, or wrote from a place of great suffering (like a war zone). Getting inside a body like that, even for a day, seems frankly a bit dangerous to me.
So while I'd love to know how a writer like Stephen King, for instance, comes up with his plots and stories, I'm not sure I'd really want to be inside his brain for a day. Many of his stories come from pretty dark places. And I know from On Writing that he was in a lot of pain after getting hit by a car. What if he is still suffering? Would I be willing to endure the suffering to just get an understanding of his plotting methods? I don't really do very well with pain...
But really there is no need to teletransport or change souls for the day with a writer just to find out how they think. We all get a chance to peek in their brains through their writing every time we pick up one of their books and dive in. That's the gift we all give as writers and receive as readers, and something I try to remind myself to cherish every day.